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Hedgehogs numbers have declined by half in rural areas and a third in urban settings. The situation is so serious, in fact, that Britain’s Hedgehog Preservation Society recently classified our garden guests as “vulnerable to extinction.” We can’t let that happen.
In response to the degradation of habitats and agricultural intensification, many of us are creating sanctuaries known as ‘hogitats’ or ‘hedgehog houses’. These hibernation havens—whether makeshift or manufactured—protect our prickly friends from predators and harsh weather. It’s a brilliant solution.
If you’re a wildlife lover looking to house a hedgehog, you’re in luck. Here I’ll breakdown the best hedgehog houses online, covering designs ranging from wooden boxes to rattan igloo shelters. There’s even some tips for creating you’re own hogitat!
What to look for in a hedgehog house
OK, so choosing the perfect hedgehog house is a bit of minefield for newbies as there are several factors to consider ranging from size to materials and anti-predator features. From experience, I’d suggest starting your hogitat search by finding one that works with your garden space and budget. Here are a few things to bear in mind before clicking the “buy” button:
House size and design
Hedgehog houses are tailored to different-sizes gardens and the number of critters you want to accommodate. For instance, houses with multiple chambers provide space for several hedgehogs, while smaller single-chamber designs are only really suitable for solo pricklers. Finding a hedgehog house with an entrance no smaller than 13cm x 13cm is a good way to ensure they can come and go safely.
Hedgehog houses are made from all sorts of materials, including wood, plastic, and rattan. Wooden houses are popular because they offer solid insulation and are typically more stylish. If this is your preference, please opt for sustainably-sourced wood—it’s much better for the environment. Plastic and rattan houses are great too as they’re durable, weather-resistant, and often come with predator protection.
Location and positioning
You should place your hedgehog house in a quiet, sheltered area away from busy foot traffic and direct sunlight. These are noctural creatures, so if you do spot a hedgehog out during the day time, please call your local wildlife service as something is probably wrong. Also ensure your hogitat is raised off the ground to prevent flooding and the entrance isn’t facing prevailing winds.
Some hedgehog houses have additional features, such as feeding stations, predator protection, removable roofs, and ventilation holes for improved air flow. Naturally, the more features your hogitat has, the more you can expect to pay.
Best hedgehog houses for the garden
Wildlife World Hogilo Hedgehog House
Unique, check. Durable, check. This hedgehog house is one of the most reliable on the market, made from sturdy recycled plastic for the eco-friendly owner focused on longevity.
One of the best features is the quirky tunnel-shaped entrance that helps keep predators at bay while allowing prickly garden guests to come and go. It’s also well ventilated, promoting airflow to keep the interior dry and our friends comfortable.
Looking for easy maintenance? The roof lifts off and you can disassemble the entire house quickly when cleaning. Plus, the plastic construction means rot and mildew isn’t a worry..
The Hogilo house measures 20 x 13 inches and nearly a foot high, so there’s have plenty of room to fit a family of hedgehogs. Even though it’s on the larger side, I found its lightweight design really easy to move around.
Riverside Woodcraft Hedgehog House
Teetering on the pricier side, this handmade house is made from FSC certified timber for a clean, modern, and premium finish. It’s also treated with a bacteria coating to help prevent disease, making it both eco-friendly and healthy for hedgehogs.
The house itself features an angled roof to help with rain run-off and is raised to reduce dampness. The entrance is a good size for hedgehogs, too, using a small lip to prevent predators from breaching the prickly palace. There’s also a window on the side that removes for easy cleaning.
The Riverside Woodcraft house is slightly smaller than other products I’ve tried out, measuring 35cm x 52cm x 28cm. While it’s unsuitable for larger families (or “prickles” as they’re collectively known), it’s still big enough to fit solo travellers or small groups. The only drawback is that nesting material isn’t included, but it’s fairly inexpensive to buy separately. You can purchase bedding from the same manufacturer for £9.99.
Wooden Barkwood Hogitat Hedgehog House Shelter
Handmade from natural barkwood and covered in moss, this über rustic hogitat blends perfectly into grass and vegetation, providing excellent camouflage for hedgehogs. What I like about this home is that there’s a strong wooden frame supporting the outer barkwood, so it feels much more durable than plastic models.
I set mine up in October (before hedgehog hibernation), next to a sheltered location under a few conifers. Surprisingly, it went unscathed all winter despite the horrible weather, and it’s still sitting pretty at the time of writing. And yes, I’ve had more than my fair share of visitors!
This hogitat has 48 x 40 x 20 cm dimensions, so it’s slightly on the smaller side, but there’s more than enough room for small to medium-sized hedgehogs. Larger prickles might find it a bit cramped; however, I definitely recommend this hedgehog house if you’re looking for an affordable option that doesn’t skimp on quality. £19.99 is a bargain!
Creating a hedgehog house from scratch
Don’t fancy forking out for a hogitat? With a few simple household materials and a bit of DIY know how, you can build a cosy shelter for hedgehogs to sleep, hibernate, and raise their young. The brilliant thing about DIY hedgehog houses is that you can make them from bits and bobs around the house, including:
- Wooden crates or boxes
- Plastic storage containers
- Terracotta pots
- Sticks, leaves, and bark
- Recycled materials like old pipes or tires
Here’s my method for creating a hedgehog house from a plastic storage container:
- A plastic storage bin (18-gallon or larger)
- A jigsaw or utility knife
- A marker or pen
- A piece of drainpipe
- Straw or dried leaves for bedding
- Some soil or leaves to cover the bin
- Begin by finding a plastic storage bin that’s roughly 18 gallons in size. This will be enough room for hedgehogs to move around freely. Spend a good amount of time ensuring the bin is clean and free from sharp edges or cracks .
- Use a marker or pen to draw a door-shaped opening on one of the shorter sides of the bin. This should be big enough for the hedgehog to enter and exit, but not so big that predators can easily get inside.
- Cut out the door using a jigsaw or utility knife.
- Sand the door edges to smooth any rough spots that could harm our garden guests.
- Make a hole at the back of the house and slot in the drainpipe for ventilation.
- Line the bottom of the bin with a few inches of straw or dried leaves to provide a soft, cosy bedding.
- Cover the bin with some soil or leaves for insulation and camouflage.
- Place the hedgehog house in a sheltered area of your garden, above ground level, away from predators and hazards.
Materials to put inside a hedgehog house
Whether making your own hogitat or buying one outright, it’s essential to fill the chamber with nesting material to keep our friends cosy and safe. These little critters love to hibernate in a mix of organic material, ranging from dried birch and hazel to hay straw.
Here are a few ideas for material you could use:
- Dry Leaves: Excellent for insulation.
- Hay or Straw: Use for bedding material to trap heat and promote nesting.
- Shredded Paper: Don’t use glossy paper as it isn’t safe for hedgehogs.
- Dried Grass: Dried grass is an excellent insulator and makes for comfortable nesting.
- Twigs and Branches: Hedgehogs love to play. So, adding twigs and branches mimics a natural environment that’s fit for exploration.
Remember to keep any materials you add clean and dry—damp can lead to health issues. I clean my hogitat and replace organise materials every couple of weeks to keep it hygienic.
What to feed hedgehogs
Hedgehogs eat both plants and animals. Their diet mainly consists of insects, slugs, snails, and wiggly things like earthworms, but they also enjoy munching on rodents and frogs. I once even caught one of my friendly gardening guests tucking into a grass snake!
Alongside animal matter, hedgehogs eat a handful of plants, fruits, and fungi. If you want to offer some solid sustenance, I recommend giving them meat-based wet cat or dog food. You could even plate up scrambled eggs or mealworms.
Counter to popular belief, you should never feed hedgehogs bread or milk. Bread has no nutritional value and can cause digestive problems, while milk often leads to diarrhea. Instead, give them fresh water—cleaned out every few days. I typically put food out in the evening, before hedgehogs head out to forage.